OOAME ~ Milanese Nwas

In one sense, Milanese Nwas is a throwback album, its sonic particles and glitched melodies reminiscent of the Apestaartje and intr.version labels of the late 90s and early oughts.  But while listening, one can also hear the influence of modern production values.  As a software designer, OOAME (Giorgio Sancristoforo) has been at the forefront of such advances.  Milanese Nwas is his melodic translation of 21st century binary texts.

Those who remember the sound of dial-up, have ever heard computers in conversation, or have been privy to the stutter-start of a hard drive crash will hear sonic echoes here.  Embedded in the music is nwas (noise), but ironically the noise makes its own form of music.  In some segments, one can hear melody struggling to break through; in others, glitch threatens melody.  Yet they all arrive at a fragile peace, collaborating on a common goal: to make beauty of of fracture.  In “Vellichor Chevrolette”, one hears a sound that may be a typewriter, a rainstick, a live instrument or a software stutter; the difficulty of identifying the original source reflects the latest A.I. technology, in particular the Turing test.  The lines between organic and inorganic continue to be blurred, yet this bright sonic hybrid is reassuring, falling squarely (or hexagonally) on the playful side.

The guitar of “Orage” isn’t live, but a fragment given new life, filtered, chopped and processed until it becomes a piece in a sonic playpen.  Sancristoforo seems to be proposing a new language but allowing the computer to have final input.  By the album’s midpoint, these elements no longer seem like nwas; “Cherry Blossom Song” bursts with harmony, while “This is a field” bounces in a byte-sized field like a digital Tigger.  Familiarity has tamed these noises, softening their edges.  OOAME has taken things a step further, making them into friends.  (Richard Allen)

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